19 Sep 2018 17:44

Kyrgyz parliamentary opposition to launch inquiry into Atambayev's activities as president

BISHKEK. Sept 19 (Interfax) - Ata-Meken (Homeland), the opposition faction in the Kyrgyz parliament, has proposed conducting an inquiry into the activities of Almazbek Atambayev, ex-president and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), while he was in office.

Ata-Meken members are seeking the disclosure of information about a number of Atambayev's decisions on personnel appointments and orders to initiate criminal cases against political opponents.

"We will launch an inquiry into Atambayev's activities by establishing a civilian control commission, which will have the power to collect and verify information regarding the ex-president's work," Almambet Shykmamatov, the faction's leader, told Interfax on Wednesday,

"Our objective is to establish such a [parliamentary] commission comprising members of civil society, including Atambayev's representatives, [in order] to present to the public information about the former president's activities, which are being extensively discussed now, and his participation in the adoption of a number of decisions, which sparked a massive public outcry," Shykmamatov said.

The civilian control commission will determine whether the ex-president's personnel policy violated the Constitution, he said. The commission should determine Atambayev's role in the institution of criminal proceedings against his political opponents, including former Ata-Meken faction leader Omurbek Tekebayev, who was convicted of corruption, as well as the degree of his involvement in the signing and implementation of expensive large-scale investment projects over the past few years.

"The society must obtain information about earlier controversial appointments, criminal cases, and projects, which are still being discussed. If he did not participate in them, it will be a good reason to move beyond the negative things with which the period of his presidency is associated now," Shykmamatov said.

He mentioned "the appointment of bodyguards and drivers to high-ranking state positions, the institution of criminal proceedings against those who did not agree with the policy of the authorities, and the signing of international multi-million investment agreements" as the most widely discussed issues that the parliamentary opposition wants the ex-president to discuss. The investment agreements in question are a Chinese loan for the renovation of the Bishkek Thermal Power Plant, which ended in a corruption scandal and the arrest of the two former Kyrgyz prime ministers, he said.

"Atambayev's activities will be judged by history, rather than by those he hurt at some point and those who betrayed him. Let them wait a while, time and the people will put everything in its place," SDPK spokesperson Kunduz Zholdubayeva told Interfax.

Commenting on the opposition faction's initiative, Zholdubayeva said that such commissions were once "created in relation to [Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic leaders] Iskhak Razzakov and Turdakun Usubaliyev. They were accused of embezzling public funds, but today both of them are paragons of innocence."

In March 2018, the SDPK held a congress, during which Atambayev criticized the activities of his successor Sooronbai Jeenbekov, including the latter's personnel policy and family ties, stressing the inadmissibility of clan governance.

Then, in April and May, almost every high-ranking official appointed by the former president and included in his inner circle was removed from office in Kyrgyzstan. Some of them were charged with corruption during the upgrade of the power plant. Former prime minister Sapar Isakov, former Customs Service head and ex-Bishkek mayor Kubanychbek Kulmanov, and another former mayor, Albek Ibraimov, are now in custody.